Met Office Hadley Centre observations datasets
Home >

MSG Sunshine

This data set is currently a prototype/demonstration product - please use with care and we would appreciate your feedback.

This data set contains daily and monthly sunshine duration at a spatial scale of 4-10 km over the UK and Europe. Data are provided for each pixel at the native resolution of the satellite used to produce this data set for September 2009 - February 2012. The data were produced as part of the EURO4M project (deliverable d1.11). Please email any feedback/comments to

Brief description of the data

Daily and monthly sunshine duration for the UK and Europe have been derived from 15-minute observations of cloud type obtained by the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI), onboard the Metosat Second Generation (MSG) satellite platform, which is the operational weather satellite at 0 degrees longitude/latitude. The cloud-type data, sourced from the Satellite Application Facility to support NoWCasting and very-short-range forecasting, are used to assign either bright sunshine or no bright sunshine for each SEVIRI observation for each pixel (bright sunshine is defined by the World Meteorological Organisation to be in excess of 120 Wm-2). The proportion of the total number of day time observations assigned bright sunshine is multiplied by the day length to estimate the total sunshine duration for that day. The monthly sunshine duration estimates are simply produced from a sum of the daily values. Evaluation of the products with collocated in situ observations from meteorological stations indicates that the daily satellite sunshine duration estimates are typically within 1-2 hours of the in situ observations.

The data derived here are not designed to replace traditional gridded station data sets, but to augment them. Satellite sunshine data may have larger uncertainties than in situ data sets, but they can offer spatial detail and coverage that the latter may not provide.

Minimum Temperatures from SEVIRI for 21 August 2013

Example of satellite sunshine duration for 1 July 2011 for
(a) Europe and (b) over the UK.

Go to download page Data are available from the download page without charge for the purposes of private study and scientific research, but please read the terms and conditions.

Commercial and media enquiries

You can access the Met Office Customer Centre, any time of the day or night by phone, fax or e-mail. Trained staff will help you find the information or products that are right for you.
Contact the Met Office Customer Centre


Please see the following publications for further information:

Good, E. (2010), Estimating daily sunshine duration over the UK from geostationary satellite data. Weather, 65: 324?328. doi: 10.1002/wea.619.

Kothe, S.; Good, E.; Obregon, A.; Ahrens, B.; Nitsche, H. Satellite-Based Sunshine Duration for Europe. Remote Sens. 2013, 5, 2943-2972.

Dataset produced in collaboration with:

Met Office logo